Director: Abhishek Kapoor
Cast: Farhan Akhtar, Arjun Rampal, Purab Kohli, Luke Kenny, Prachi Desai, Koel Puri
Storyline: Four friends who are part of a rock band called Magik fall apart until one day, ten years later, life offers them a second chance.
Bottomline: A rock-version of Dil Chahta Hai-meets-Jhankaar Beats in an incredibly solid ensemble film.
Rock on is predictable from start to the supers in the end that will tell us what happened to each of the band members and is certainly not the film you ought to watch after the spoof ‘Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story.’
Because, Rock On has every single element synonymous with the sub-genre of rock-movies – a band that has fallen apart must get together to redeem itself.
But it’s not the What that matters in a movie like Rock On, it’s the How.
And How it works!
Gloriously at that, hitting the right notes with the restraint and understatement, a sensibility we are now attuned to expect from the Farhan Akhtar brand of cinema. Director Abhishek Kapoor is completely in control, backed by Farhan Akhtar’s effectively incisive dialogues that take us right into the mind of the characters, not to forget the powerhouse performances from the entire ensemble.
The film does get indulgently slow down towards in the middle when it delves into what went wrong with the band, but by then you’re already in love with the mood and the feel of Rock On. Cinematographer Jason West, take a bow.
With the classic golden sephia tones and the saturated colours created in a sea of swaying arms, the flashbacks feel like a Woodstock documentary set in Mumbai.
You can completely relate to the boys, their dilemmas and where the conflict stems from, through the nuances and body language of the characters, with the filmmaker rarely ever resorting to theatrics, melodrama or cinematic exaggeration.
Rock On is a nostalgic ode to an era when rock musicians could be spotted with their long hair. Yes, they did smoke up, they had their groupies but that wasn’t all they did.
It maybe a little unfair to compare this with Cameron Crowe’s ‘Almost Famous’ that went behind the scenes and deep into the minds of pig-headed power-drunk rockstars because rockstars in India are anything but that.
Because Rock On is the definitive film on the state of Indian rock. Rockstars in India are small-time survivors, consumed by the angst of their struggle against odds, playing for what they believe in and bound together by friendship and music, more than anything else. And Rock On is spot on when it comes to exploring these issues.
Shankar Ehsaan Loy’s music is the backbone of this film. The songs work ‘Magik’ when you watch them within the film, grow on you and may just convince you pick up a CD. It’s raw, fresh and full of life. And once you’ve seen the movie, it will also trigger memories of the film.
There is so much to rave about Farhan Akhtar’s performance. He’s emerged out to be one of India’s finest actors in the film, brooding with aggressive intensity, employing his voice modulation to bring out the anguish, compared to a superbly restrained Arjun Rampal who lets his eyes do all the talking with his mellowed down angst-ridden countenance. Purab Kohli is delightfully charming and fun and is almost solely responsible for the laughs in the film while Luke Kenny underplays the level-headed, strong-minded introvert with great panache. The women in the film Prachi Desai, Koel Puri and especially Sahana Goswami are solid in their support roles.
Even the most predictable scenes are delivered with utmost sincerity and the sync sound breathes so much life into even the most used plot devices.
Unfortunately though this multiplex film has limited urban appeal and one can only wish that it stays long enough to get the audience it deserves.
Book your ticket now and Rock On.